Public’s voice muted on fishing

If we want to have chinook salmon and killer whales around for future generations, it will require leadership and tough decisions from the federal government. No one is denying that.

But how the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has gone about placing restrictions on those ocean species, and hint more are likely to come is a head scratcher.

Earlier this year, the DFO shut down salmon and recreational fishing for the summer in key feeding grounds for killer whales.

The closures, which took effect last month, apply to parts of the southern Gulf Islands, portions of Juan de Fuca Strait, and areas around the mouth of the Fraser River.

Now, the DFO has announced it wants feedback on another plan that could potentially close a large swath of ocean from Port Renfrew to Tofino.

In both cases, the DFO has said all the right spin words like public consultation, feedback, assessment and dialogue. It even set up special websites.

Unfortunately, they aren’t listening.

In this summer’s closure, recreation anglers offered good suggestions that could both save the whales and the salmon. Instead DFO, expanded the no-fishing zone at the dismay of every recreation angler and business on the South Coast.

This time around, the DFO gave a mere two weeks for public input and kept pretty quiet about it.

There’s no doubt saving the chinook salmon and creating a safe ocean habitat for whales is crucial. (Last summer, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order closing all chinook salmon fisheries in Southeast Alaska marine waters).

The point here is why isn’t the DFO listening to those who are using the resource? The people who are most affected by their decisions aren’t – or perceived – being listened to.

By not taking all the information, including science and legitimate public feedback, the mandate to protect wild salmon and killer whales, takes on a second role, and smacks of politics and cronyism.

Just Posted

Two to hospital after University of Victoria sailing mishap

Wind gusts capsize boat of recreational club sailors

Victoria’s deaf community advocates for different sign languages to be recognized on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Transport Canada announces funds for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Contaminants at Laurel Point Park will be removed starting at the end of September

Moon Lantern festival to light up Gordon Head

Saturday night festival celebrates harvest moon, fall season

Volunteers gather in Metchosin for B.C.’s 1st ever search and rescue joint training

Around 200 volunteers came out for the three-day training program

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read